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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 06/ 4/2010

Georgetown: Unite behind streetcars

By Topher Mathews

Ever since the engineers designing the Metrorail system in the 1960s decided against locating a station in Georgetown, generations of Washingtonians have passed on the urban legend that the reason no station was located in Georgetown was that fussy Georgetowners wanted to keep out the "riffraff."

Like most urban legends, this one thrives despite repeated attempts to dispel it because it fits a preconceived notion about the character of Georgetown residents.

No matter how many informed writers explain that engineers decided to skip Georgetown because of geological, not political, concerns, there will be many more people who will insist that it was that old Georgetown Nimbyism that squashed a Georgetown station.

I suggest Georgetowners just give up trying to set the record straight. There is a much more productive way we can escape this urban legend: by strongly backing plans by the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) to bring streetcar service to Georgetown.

The ANC took a cautious first step this week by passing a resolution conditionally supporting DDOT's plans for streetcar service to, and through, Georgetown. But there are storms on the horizon; at least one resident is privately promising a well-financed effort to defeat the plan.

Will this effort turn the urban legend into a self-fulfilling prophecy? I certainly hope not. Regardless of why Georgetown never got a Metro station, we can work to make Georgetown a proud and intrinsic part of Washington's 21st century transit system.

Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Topher Mathews  | June 4, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, transportation  
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